THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 278 October 6 - 12, 2003
Highlights this week:
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 - 7,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here.
If you are not paying for this place, click here...
For Previous Weeks of the View, SEE VIEW HOME PAGE
Search: type in string and press return.
If you have no idea what you are doing here, see the What is this place?, which tries to make order of chaos.
If you intend to send MAIL to me, see the INSTRUCTIONS.
If you subscribed:
If you didn't and haven't, why not?
For the BYTE story, click here.
The freefind search remains:
October 6, 2003
It's deadline time for the column. I'm supposed to be on jury duty as well, but they didn't want my group so far, which is a reprieve.
My friend Greg Cochran says I am wrong about the Wilson affair: some of the White House people really are mean and petty enough to have leaked Wilson's wife's employment as a way to get back at him. He also says I should be prepared to find out more such news: this group, having got us into a war they don't know what to do with, is getting desperate.
Perhaps. I hope he's wrong. We had enough of that kind of pettiness in the past; we don't need to transform the United States into that kind of political entity. On the other hand, over concern with government and what we used to think of as Beltway Madness : the delusion that nothing that happens outside the Beltway has any meaning other than its impact on the people in the Beltway, and nothing outside the Beltway is important compared to what goes on it it -- that madness is characteristic of empire. To imperialists nothing exists but the empire and government; everything else is tertiary at best.
And perhaps it is coming to that here. I dread it. Of course I predicted it, and wrote novels about it, but it doesn't mean I like it. And I had better get to the column.
This one needs thinking about.
And then there is:
which I saw in the Daily News yesterday. Hardly a surprise.
I am not much in favor of the war on drugs (which in my judgment is unconstitutional at the federal level because there is no power to outlaw drugs in the constitution, as there was none to outlaw liquor prior to the 18th Amendment); but then we have:
Chest pains brought on by cocaine overwhelm A&E units By Michael Day, Health Correspondent / (Filed: 05/10/2003) /
Thousands of cocaine-abusers are putting hospital casualty wards under strain by turning up with serious chest pains caused by taking the drug, according to a study by one of Britain's leading authorities on drug abuse.
I see our subjects in Iraq are getting restless. This was in an oil refinery town. That can't continue. At some point there will be a massacre. That should provide some order.
|This week:||Tuesday, October
The column is done, just final polish needed.
Let's see: Turks send Soldiers into Iraq. What a surprise! Over how many centuries would that been a likely headline? Or
Anatolia sends soldiers into Mesopotamia! That might have been a surprise in, say, 5,000 BC, but hardly since. Hittites Invade Assyria! News at Eleven...
Balkans splitting up! Balkan nations Balkanizing!
Majority of Iraqis want US occupation of their country to end!
I think I'll go for a walk. Mail later today. Wow.
That walk didn't turn out well. We started up the hill on the fire trail and Sable caught a foot long hatchling rattlesnake. There was a nest of them. I think the only one that bit her was the one she caught, but she sure was bit, although I can't see where. Probably on the nose. She's very subdued, pants a lot, not running, not interested in water. The vet has her and she's getting anti-venom, and there's nothing to do but wait now. I'll know more in a couple of hours. Meanwhile I'm home and she's there.
I wasn't watching for little rattlers because you don't usually see them in Fall. They usually hatch in spring. But there were at least six of them, possibly more, in an old gopher hole. Usually the gophers will eat the snake eggs, and this was only about 40 yards from the trail entrance, not all that far from people and back yards. Just bad luck.
Sasha had somehow learned about snakes and avoided them, but Sable doesn't seem to know. Even after it bit her she wanted to catch it again.
Well, Sable is in the emergency hospital for the night, but it's only for observation. We picked her up at the vet and took her there, and she was able to walk in from the car. The vet doesn't do night duty, while she looks good there are always possible problems, so we arranged to have her where they can give her more antibiotics and cortisone and such like if she needs it. So the good news is she's probably all right, although they want to do blood clot times and may have to give her some platelets.
You would not suppose how much it costs to treat a dog for a snakebite on the nose. I'm going to have to write a short story or something to catch up. I keep wondering what happens to people who can't manage to scrape up the money for all this.
But Deo gratia, she's all right. Puffy of face, swollen, but she's all right. She'll come home tomorrow.
And for all who expressed their good wishes, thanks. And for all your prayers, thank you.
2100: The night clinic says all her blood tests are normal and she's resting with some sedation. So it was expensive, but the worst is over.
Up at dawn to get Sable from the emergency overnight clinic and back to her regular vet. She was glad to see me, but groggy. Pain killers, I suppose. She was sure I could make her problems go away, but of course I can't. She's at the regular vet now. I presume she'll come home tonight. There won't be any pictures until she's recovered a bit. She looks pretty bad, face all swollen, and that collar thing she hates.
This isn't fun.
0930: I have spoken with the vet. She comes home this evening, and we can expect a full recovery although "you can never be sure, but generally when they get to this stage, they'll be all right."
My thanks to all of you who sent your sympathies and prayers. This has been expensive. I'm glad I can afford it, but I have a lot of sympathy for those who find themselves in this situation and can't.
The election is over, now they have to figure out what to do about all the goofy legislation Davis signed in his last week. This state is not merely bankrupt, it's in debt up to the eyeballs with the worst to come.
Over in Iraq the beat goes on, and Cohen this morning in his column this morning is advising Israel to cut back to the Green Line and dismantle all the settlements. Rebuild The Fence along the old Green Line. Of course Israel won't do that. Politically impossible.
There will be wars and rumors of war. Israel is the only western democracy in the Middle East. It has the strengths and weaknesses of western democracies, but it is in a land that knows not that form and despite our best intentions we aren't going to turn Iraq into a showcase of western institutions including democracy.
Not that democracy is the answer to all problems, once the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. Democracies historically plunder their most successful citizens until they consort to bring in a dictator. Of course we are different, and all things are new, and history isn't relevant to this special people in America. But what if it is?
Well, 800,000 more voted to turn Davis out than voted to put him into office...
2300: Sable is home, all bandages (for catheters) have been removed, she ate a good dinner -- she wouldn't eat at the vet -- and just to show us, she's sleeping outside although she had the offer of sleeping under the bed. The swelling has gone done considerably, and she carries her tail high the way Huskies do when their happy. She sure was glad to see us.
So that adventure is pretty well done.
I am learning more about rattlesnakes. Roberta called the rangers to warn them about the nest we found. Apparently they aren't that uncommon in fall although I mostly remember small ones in spring until the crows thin them out. Apparently they are also born alive, not as eggs.
Mostly I'll be a lot more careful, but Sable is a hunter and she will hunt gophers. Sasha hunted gophers in those hills for all his 16 years and while we had a couple of snake encounters they were big enough to rattle so we could avoid them. These were too small to have a rattle. There were at least half a dozen, all not a foot long. Sable caught one, and it bit her at least once, on the nose. She had a lump behind her year yesterday, but that is gone today; impossible to tell if it was another bite. Anyway, she seems fine, and she wants to go for a walk but we were told not today. Maybe tomorrow about bedtime.
So all is well at Chaos Manor. Now to catch up again...
October 9, 2003
Subscriber Brice Yokem quotes yesterday's observation on the Middle East and asks,
What type of democracy is Turkey? or is Turkey not technically in the Middle East, but the Near East?
Turkey (Asia Minor) is not the "Middle East" and technically, Turkey is not a democracy: it's what Aristotle called a "Timocracy" or rule by honor through a council of officers; but there is a lot more to it than that, because by almost every standard Turkey is a democracy and quite stable compared to many, a secular republic in a sea of Islamic "republics".
The difference is the Army. If allowed to, the Turkish electorate would make Turkey an Islamic Republic, and every now and then there is a move in that direction. When that happens the Army interferes. It also interferes if the secular government becomes hopelessly corrupt as has happened at least once.
But the unique factor is the Army does not rule Turkey. It doesn't appoint the officials or the judges, and it doesn't make the laws. Instead it enforces the secular constitution proclaimed by Mustapha Kemal known as Kemal Ataturk, the young officer who rose to be dictator, deposed the Sultan and abolished the Sultanate, proclaimed a Republic with himself as President, and used his power to reform the constitution. He then required his successors to swear to uphold his reforms but otherwise not interfere in the management of Turkish affairs.
And it has worked remarkably well. If we could build anything like that in Iraq we would be wildly successful.
But it requires the unique institution of an officer corps that holds supreme power but doesn't use it except for the specific purpose of defending the constitution. History shows few cases of this happening.
Iraq is not Turkey, although there are many Turks in Iraq. Iraq will have to be some kind of federal state: a winner take all national democracy will destroy itself in the aftermath of the first election. If Iraq ever could have a secular federal republic whose constitution is enforced by an army that does not otherwise try to seize power, it should count itself among the most fortunate of nations in that region, and the United States will have done something unique in history.
Mill said that states not ready for rule of law under a republic should count themselves fortunate to have a Charlemagne or an Akbar. This was before the example of Kemal. Iraq is in that state, and I wish them a Mustapha Kemal.
Sable is in good shape. She needs Vitamin K to help restore her clotting, and we have to be careful about injuries or internal bruising. She's a bit subdued, sitting at our feet like a normal dog, but she is wondering when we are going to go for walks again.
Paul Walker sends this: http://www.miniclip.com/arnie.htm
October 10, 2003
"A teenager was disciplined for sharing medication used to treat asthma, but he said it saved his girlfriend's life, News2Houston reported Wednesday. "
When a stupid man is doing something he knows is wrong, he always insists it is his duty.
In this case we have a number of stupid people pleading "policy" and "rule of law" when in fact there isn't rule of law here. Just imbecility. Expect to see much more of this kind of thing. Welcome to the future.
Tommy Chong goes to prison for selling bongs. Federal agents say they never heard of the law that got him; it has not been rigorously enforced. Chong's prosecution involved agents in Seattle, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The cost of this homeland security operation isn't known, but we have a dangerous criminal locked up for six months, and we can call feel much safer, if a bit poorer.
The Rule Of Law triumphs again.
The government also states that it doesn't have enough money for Homeland Security, and needs more for the occupation of Iraq.
Student Charged With Hacking Stock Account
By Carrie Johnson and Mike Musgrove
A college student was arrested yesterday on charges of hacking into someone else's online brokerage account and sticking him with an investment loss of more than $40,000 after the student obtained password information with surreptitiously installed software that recorded the investor's computer keystrokes.
According to federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Drexel University student Van T. Dinh, 19, lured victims to a Web site with a request for help in testing software he had written that tracked stock price moves. But, officials said, the program was really a subterfuge that installed a program called the Beast, which, when downloaded onto a computer, can track every character the user types and relay them to a hacker. <snip>
There is more and it's all interesting.
I think this is the URL you are looking for:
(found via Google News)
I must have tried Google News too early, there was nothing there when I looked. Thanks.
October 11, 2003
Sable is fine. Roberta and I are laid low by some kind of very persistent flu.
October 12, 2003
Roberta is better. I'm worse. This is no fun. I'll try to do some mail.
Subject: Fwd: Bad news on RPC DCOM vulnerability ( priority one)
Begin forwarded message:
> From: K-OTiK Security <Special-Alerts
Subject: Re: Bad news on RPC DCOM vulnerability as confirmed by 3APA3A and security labs, it seems that the public > exploit *works* even if the patch MS03-039 is *installed* > > This is a highly critical vulnerability - users MUST block vulnerable > ports ! > > Regards. > > K-OTik Staff
/\\/ http://wwww.k-otik.com > > > >> From: 3APA3A <3APA3A@SECURITY.NNOV.RU> >> >> Dear firstname.lastname@example.org, >>
>> There are few bad news on RPC DCOM vulnerability: >>
>> 1. Universal exploit for MS03-039 exists in-the-wild, PINK FLOYD >> is >> again actual.
>> 2. It was reported by exploit author (and confirmed), Windows XP >> SP1 >> with all security fixes installed still vulnerable to variant of >> the >> same bug. Windows 2000/2003 was not tested. For a while only DoS >> exploit >> exists, but code execution is probably possible.
Technical details >> are >> sent to Microsoft, waiting for confirmation. >>
>> Dear ISPs. Please instruct you customers to use personal fireWALL >> in >> Windows XP. > > ------------------------------------------------------------- Roland Dobbins <mordant@ gothik.org>
> As with the prior RPC vulnerability (MS03-039), these attacks can occur > on TCP ports 135, 139, 445 and 593; and UDP ports 135, 137, 138 and > 445. >
I sent the above Sunday night in a mailing to subscribers. If you subscribe and did not get it, you might want to be sure I have your address up to date.
I sent it in plaintext, and at least one reader says it is more readable that way.
SEE Tomorrow's View for more
Feeling safer already...
Entire Site Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 by Jerry E. Pournelle. All rights reserved.